Cathy McGowan demands Government invest more money in regional ABC
Posted September 09, 2015
CATHY McGOWAN (Indi) (13:55): Colleagues, I would like to talk to you about an absolute crisis that is taking place in rural and regional Australia. It has to do with the provision of local news in our communities. Over the last couple of days we have had representatives from Prime, WIN and Southern Cross doing the rounds of parliament saying, 'What's happening with this government? We have had media laws that were put in place in the early 1990s which are well and truly past their use-by date. We absolutely need a review of media laws and how they impact on rural and regional Australia.'
Colleagues, I have just been to a launch of report on research done by the Australia Institute. The Australia Institute has looked at the popularity of the ABC right across rural and regional Australia. Now more than ever, people in the regions and in the country are saying that we need to invest more money in our rural news services and that we need to invest more money, not less money, in the ABC. So I say to my colleagues opposite: As you are getting ready now to do the planning for the budget that is going to take place before the next election, can you rural and regional people put right at the front of it more money for the ABC, more money for local news, more money for those fantastic reports who cover what we do in rural and regional Australia?
Why is this so important? It is so important because, if we do not have the commercial stations doing what we need, now more than ever we need a really strong ABC, we need local staffing, we need local stories and we need to be able to build that connectivity right across regional Australia.